President Michael Sata has reportedly suspended two High Court Judges Emilia Sunkutu and Timothy Katenekwa and has appointed separate tribunals to investigate them on various charges.
Although the charges have not been specified, the suspensions are alleged to be connected to alleged incompetence and misconduct of the two judges.
According to Judiciary sources, the suspensions follow complaints processed through the Judicial Complaints Authority, unlike the Chikopa Tribunal instigated by debtors who owe the Development Bank of Zambia more than K18 billion.
The President, it is believed, has already communicated with the two judges who have stopped performing their duties pending hearings by the tribunals.
Judge Sunkutu upheld a 3 year jail sentence for assault by one of President Sata`s security detail in 2009, Judge Ngoma.
In this case, Judge Sunkutu reprimanded Ngoma against accusing the court of being a ‘liar’ just because the prosecution appealed against his three-year jail sentence imposed on him by Lusaka principal magistrate David Simusamba for assault charges.
“For the appellant to call a trial court a liar is unacceptable and should be condemned by all meaningful citizens because his actions of engaging into violent acts were barbaric,” she had said
And for Judge Katanekwa, he recused himself from handling the matter involving High Court Judges Nigel Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga in a case that involved his personal friend Fred M’membe.
This was in a case in which the judge, acknowledging that M’membe was one of the principal drivers of the Chikopa tribunal, declined to preside over the case when the matter came up in his court in Ndola.
However, several attempts to have the matter re-allocated immediately failed, although it is not clear why the judges were not prepared to preside over the matter.
However, High Court of Zambia chief administrator Egipiso Mwansa said he was not aware of the suspension as his office had not received any communication to that effect.
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